The dinner table was cleared and we got down on the floor to put the finishing touches on various Lego constructions. When I told my 5-year-old son we would be putting them all back in the box before he went to bed he was aghast. “No!” he cried. I decided that he could keep the completed designs (various trucks and one building, a police department) intact, I would photograph them all, and we would put the rest of the bits away. We get a clean living room floor and Daddy gets to play with cameras.
I have an old Kodak 4×5 monorail that I have never used. The shutter was jammed and I finally was able to fix it a few months ago. I pulled that out and loaded up 3 holders with Tri-X 320. I improvised some lighting with a task light and an LED flashlight, metered with the Sekonic L-308, framed and composed, shifted the front standard up, etc. But then I couldn’t fit a cable release to the shutter. What the…? Apparently, Graphex shutters don’t use the standard tapered shutter release we all know and love from the last half century. The tip needs to be #5-44 straight thread. Thank you to APUG and user snederhiser for that information. I was going out of my mind, thinking “why can’t I seem to just pick up this camera and use it?”
I’ve already left out the part where when I was loading the film I came across an existing sheet. But hell, it’s all out on the table now. At this point I’m all ready to go. Piece one is posed. Adjusted. Insert holder into remarkably tight back and embrace the whole contraption in order to dull the shake and not screw up my composition entirely. Check that shutter is cocked and diaphragm is closed. Stopped down. Shutter speed, check. <click>. Oops, dark slide out! <click> Dark slide back in, black side out–I know it’s exposed, good, good. See? When I shoot 4×5 more than once in a calendar year, it gets a little easier. Next shot. Next shot. And three more–well, not quite. Shot number five I pulled out the dark slide and realized I still had the preview switch set so I was wide open. So that was a manual exposure. Waxy feathers are starting to make a mess of the floor.
darkroom bathroom: A remarkably easy time unloading the holders and loading the Mod54. In the darkroom kitchen: I deftly soak the film and measure out the Atomal 49 perfectly. Development is efficient and by the book. 14 minutes, stop, fix, rinse, Photo-Flo, hang ’em up.
Boy oh boy are they underexposed. No time to think about it, though–a nice long walk for the dog on a brisk winter’s night and off to bed.
This morning I notice the coincidence that fellow film photographer and blogger Alex Luyckx has just posted about 320TX in large format as well. In the comments on his post someone mentions reciprocity failure. OF COURSE MY PHOTOS WERE UNDEREXPOSED. Why do I never remember reciprocity failure?
Guess what I’m doing tonight?